Mile 31.8 – Mile 106.1

Mile 45.1

Walking solo is a bit different. It’s not bad, just different. I guess it was comforting to know that someone was behind me.

I started to see things yesterday. Like a huge bird and a bear a couple times. I was imagining these things. They weren’t really there. And I’d prefer to not see things that aren’t there. 

I was able to find a spot to camp around mile 45. There’s a stream about a quarter of a mile from the site. It looks like someone had built a bridge with stacked rocks long ago. Maybe to get a wagon across or something. Kind of neat.

I’m going to get to Tray Mountain shelter tomorrow. Further if I’m feeling good. That would put me in NC by Monday for sure. Crossing a state is my motivation right now.

Mile 58.6

Last night at 1am a screeching owl woke me. Have you ever heard one of those? It sounded like a woman screaming right above my tent. Horrifying. And not ideal to wake up to in the middle of the night.

The day started off really well. I woke up around 6:30, made coffee, packed up and started walking around 8. Within the first hour, I walked through a tunnel of rhododendron. Super pretty. Although, I can’t wait to walk through a Rhody tunnel in bloom.

After Blue Mountain, I made it into Unicoi Gap and I experienced my first trail magic. I had a coke, a hotdog, a bud light, a plum, and chips. So awesome and unexpected. 
Tonight, I made it to Tray Mountain Shelter. The last 2 miles were tough. Tray Mountain summit is 4,429′. The view up here is real good.

I’m already in my sleeping bag and it’s 7:43.


Today was kind of a tough day for me. I think most of it had to do with Easter and being away from family and Duane. I glanced at my phone at one point during a break and I just saw photo after photo of families and friends hanging out. Having a phone and access to the internet most days is such a perk – but today it definitely bummed me out a little. 

I walked 16 miles today. That’s the most I’ve walked so far in a day. I’m proud of that number. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be in North Carolina. My first state crossing. I am pretty pumped about that. 

I have decided I’m carrying way too much food. I’ve barely made a dent in it since Thursday. Also, my appetite is not so great right now and I don’t know why. I’ve been too tired to cook the past two nights and all I crave is chocolate. I had two handfuls of chocolate covered blueberries for dinner. That’s it.


Today I crossed my first state line. North Carolina welcomed me with these cute little white flowers and eventually rain. 

Rain is in the forecast for the next couple days. Kind of a bummer but I knew I wouldn’t have clear days forever.

Tonight a mouse was crawling all over the roof and sides of my tent. A cute little thing but I’d rather it stay outside.

I made a reservation in a cheap hotel once I get to Franklin, NC. There’s a brewery there (YESYES) and the hotel has a free shuttle to run to the grocery store. My clothes are real stinky and damp and I’d really like a shower. I’m hoping to get there midday on Wednesday so I need to walk pretty far tomorrow. With the rain it might be tricky. 


Today, I woke up to rain and walked in rain. I also slipped and fell down a ridge and had my head hit the trunk of a tree. I don’t want that to ever happen again. So I guess I need to not slip again.

I really like North Carolina so far. The shelters seem nicer and cleaner, the trail is wider, and the mountains actually have switchbacks. Well, for now anyway. And as a designer I can appreciate a good type set sign like this one – 

I passed the 100 mile mark today. Pretty cool.

Tomorrow I’m going to walk 4 miles to Rock Gap where the shuttle will pick me up. I’m excited to see Franklin, take a break, get out of the rain, wash my clothes, and have a brew.


I made it to Rock Gap this morning and hopped on the shuttle bus to Franklin. I just showered, put my laundry in, and am now airing out my tent. I’m thinking I’ll get that brew once my clothes are dry. 

There are a few outfitters in Franklin that will ship gear and food to you up the trail but I think I’ll just grab a few necessities and food today and just figure it out later. I’m not much of a planner. 

End of Day 10.

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Comments 18

  • D : Apr 19th

    It’s fun to see progress. Nice photos. Keep it up.

    • Anna Zimmerman : Apr 20th

      Thanks for being so supportive, Duane.

  • Amber Linville : Apr 19th

    I’ve been keeping up with your adeventure and look forward to your posts to see how far you’ve come. Keep it up you are doing fantastic! Stay safe!

    • Anna Zimmerman : Apr 20th

      Thanks so much Amber!

  • Donna Robinson : Apr 19th

    Anna, love reading how you are doing! What a great experience. Prayers. Enjoy the Brew!

    • Anna Zimmerman : Apr 20th

      Thank you! The brew was enjoyed.

  • Kerry : Apr 19th

    Yay! I love all the photos! Bear wildlife area?!

    Also, I forget what trail magic is!

    I love the rhododendron photo and the one of you at the state line!!

    Keep your head up on the hard days! It looks like you’ve made so much progress!

    • Anna Zimmerman : Apr 20th

      Trail magic is any unexpected act of kindness from a stranger. Sometimes it’s a ride to town, a person giving out hotdogs in a parking lot, a cooler with fresh water, etc. Thanks for the encouragement Kerryberry.

  • Scott Brown : Apr 19th

    Freddy 87-88 here. Love Franklin. Hit Outdoor 76. Good outfitter. They have a bar in the store.

    We love the pizza shop beside Bennetts BBQ in Gatlinburg.

    Cheering you on!

    • Anna Zimmerman : Apr 20th

      Thanks for the tips! I went to Outdoor 76 last night. I’ll check out the pizza shop if I go into Gatlinburg.

  • Brynn : Apr 19th

    YOU ROCK! Go girl go!

    • Anna Zimmerman : Apr 20th

      Thanks, Brynnie!

  • Lynn jenkins : Apr 19th

    I enjoy watching your journey. So impressed, you are doing a great job. Beautiful pictures!

    • Anna Zimmerman : Apr 20th

      Thanks so much for reading Lynn. 🙂

  • John krauss : Apr 20th

    Anna great job this is a dream of mine sometime one suggestion is get up around 5 am and on the trail by 6 the only reason why I say this it is must nicer to hike when it cool out and not the sun beating on you keep going girl you are doing awesome

  • Jess : Apr 20th

    I miss you Anna! I’m so glad I got to start the trip with you—it really meant a lot to me and was an amazing experience. But I’m also glad you’re keeping this journal, because I love hearing how things are going and what you’ve encountered out there. Also, I probably shouldn’t have, but I laughed at the screech owl description… a lot. Keep on truckin’, and don’t get the liquid poops! ?

  • Michelle Eversole : Apr 20th

    Hi Anna,
    Enjoying your updates, your writing and pics are amazing. I wonder if you’ll catch up to my bro-in-law (he started the AT a week before you)? Stay safe:)

  • Rebecca tompkins : Apr 21st

    So fun to read the posts. I keep up with u thru yur Mom at work. Def praying 4 u. This will b so awesome for the resume. Happy trails.


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